President Nicos Anastasiades had no choice but cancel a meeting scheduled with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in New York late on Wednesday because divided Cyprus cannot afford to tolerate any annexation precedent.
This is what Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has said in New where they are participating at the UN General Assembly.
“We decided to hold the meeting after (Russian) President Putin’s speech and Moscow’s intention for referendums and for the annexation of occupied territories of Ukraine was made public,” he said.
“This matter is judged to be particularly serious for us and the EU…we, in Cyprus, are particularly interested in the matter of creating a precedent for annexations and we will participate together with the other partners in their response against it,” he added.
Cyprus is divided since a 1974 Turkish invasion, with Ankara threatening continuously to annex the breakaway northern part of the EU-member island.
Anastasiades and Lavrov had been expected to meet on the sidelines of the General Assembly.
“In anticipation of the decisions of the EU the guidelines from Brussels to avoid bilateral meetings with Russia were followed,” government spokesman Marios Pelekanos told state radio early onThursday.
EU member Cyprus has close political and economic ties with Russia, but has followed Brussels lead in imposing sanctions on the country in response to its invasion of Ukraine.